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St. Jude, the Patron Saint of …Substance Abusers?

12/26/2006 - 3:54 AM PST

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By Mark Scheeren
Baldwin Research Institute

In America we have a serious problem. As one might expect from the title of this article, that problem would seem to be alcoholism and/or drug addiction. We see the face of substance abuse every day; the tragedies, the wrecked and warped lives on our tv sets, hear about it on the radio, or see it on blogs spread all over the internet. The struggles to stop using drugs, the relapses back to drink, and the sensationalized final loss of ultimate control are constantly displayed for all to see. It has gone so far that it has become acceptable to pay people to have their wretched, crushed lives recorded for primetime tv in docudrama shows such as ‘intervention’ and the like. But the truth is this; it is not alcoholism or drug addiction that are tearing people’s lives apart right before our very eyes. No, underlying that destructive activity is a deep and reverent belief system that is the cause of such poor behavior. Without this belief, the damage created by alcohol and drug abuse would drop precipitously. The belief is this: that these inert substances (alcohol and drugs) are more powerful than the free will that God has placed in every one of us. That somehow God screwed up and made us with a faulty and limited sense of ourselves and when alcohol and/or drugs enter the temple, well… we are a slave to it, and always will be.

The problem is not the use and abuse of substances. Those activities have been a part of most cultures worldwide for millennia. It is the more modern belief system characterized by the idea that these habits cannot be broken once they are created; that separates today’s view from that of even a century ago where choice and consequences were the prevailing thoughts on alcohol and drug consumption. In those days we had control over ourselves and our actions. For the last seventy years our American belief system with respect to substance abuse has become contaminated with ideas that are counter to common sense. The so called experts would have even the most religiously devout substance abuser believe they cannot fight the battle and win for good. That somehow this “disease” (which by the way has never been scientifically proven to even exist) will have them beat for life. This belief system leaves out the possibility that God has built within us a power of choice and freewill that is stronger than anything that can be thrown at it. Just ask survivors of the concentration camps of any of the wars in the last seventy years whether the human will can overcome anything. Or what about the cancer victim who overcame the odds after the doctors told them they had a month to live, yet today are cured and living productive, happy lives. Can it be true that alcohol and drugs are a more profoundly destructive and powerful force than those events! Talking to the millions of people who once were “addicted” and now live normal productive lives without any treatment whatsoever throws that theory out of the window.

No, it is not the use and misuse of these substances, but rather it is our cultural belief that they have ultimate power over us. Furthering this harmful belief is the next stop in the intellectual road to bondage that states that not only are you sick, but that you must admit defeat by proclaiming yourself “powerless” over the inert substance as a means to find God and get well. This backwards logic sounds good, even to the devoutly religious: “Surrender, and you will find strength.” But, unlike surrendering to God, (who, by the way created the Universe) surrendering your freewill and life over to “powerlessness” and to alcohol just furthers the victim mentality. And, it gives more excuses for future relapse. Nothing has contributed more to deaths resulting from overuse of alcohol and drugs than the consistent belief that the self-imposed habit cannot be broken, permanently. The belief is so pervasive that the person using drugs and alcohol abusively has no control and that the spirit within is wilted to a non-functioning dormancy and finally Gods entire human creation is held hostage by the new agent that has entered the body. Never has such a modern culture held such a deep belief in the powerlessness of people who choose to drink and/or drug to excess.

America not only believes in this non-truth, but has built an entire industry around it. The rehabilitation industry uses this belief as one of the fundamental tenets to bring the person back to health. What a contradiction. It certainly sounds good, “Surrender to the disease and freedom will follow,” the modern therapist will say. But freedom does not come to those who believe in giving up to substances.

What has happened to common sense? What happened to the belief that people must have responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of those actions? What happened to our fellow Christian brethren who have always had ...

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1 - 9 of 9 Comments

  1. S.C. Sanchez-DeLong
    4 months ago

    It is easy to preach of the light when one has not experienced the darkness.

  2. d salcido
    6 months ago

    St Jude. Help my fiance to overcome is addiction give him the strenghth he needs to fight the temptation and help him to find his light.


    Pray for us St Jude
    Pray for us St jude
    Pray for us St jude

  3. D. morris
    8 months ago

    Please speak to neuroscientists and neurologists about addiction and the brain and speak with addicts. Many addicts have mental health issues, are depressed, bi-polar or war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress who self-medicate. Genetics too plays a part in addiction. What may start out as a habit, can ultimately lead to dependency. No alcoholic starts off drinking a whole bottle. It's an slippery slope and can be likened to playing Russian roulette, because no one knows if they'll become addicted or not - although having other members of the family who are addicts is a good indicator Of course will power is needed, because you have to want to be free from addiction (some don't want to), but it's a battle that many will lose and with alcohol widely available at anytime of day or night, the temptation for some proves too great. However, with God's help, prayer and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, along with the Angels and Saints, there are also many success stories. So before we judge let's remember. There but for the Grace of God go I.

  4. odelia bejarano
    8 months ago

    Pray for my grandson to overcome his drug addiction to marijuana.

  5. Kit
    1 year ago

    St Jude, pray for my son who is entrapped in the snares of addiction. Help him to know that the Lord is the way to peace and recovery.
    St. Jude, pray for us.
    St. Jude, pray for us
    St. Jude, pray for us.

  6. CC
    1 year ago

    Hello, I'm asking for some help. I have two daughters who smoke marijuana regularly. One, is out of control. I pray to God everyday to relieve them of their addiction. I would like to know which Saint I should pray to about them. I dress up baby Jesus every year as a saint (Posada) and would like to honor the St., who helps with drugs, rebellious children, alcoholism, etc. I saw Maximilliam Kolbe, as a St for addictions but he was actually overdosed by a drug. Please email me. Thank you for your time.

  7. Norma Ramirez
    2 years ago

    Anything is possible with God. Threre is no such thing to being an alcoholic and or drug user and not cured with God on our side. I believe in your work and your program. Keep it up.
    "I can do anything with God who gives me the strength". Phil:4 13

  8. MARIA AMIELA DE LEON-MAGPANTAY, RSW
    2 years ago

    I am very surprised and overwhelmed upon knowing the patron for drug addiction! St. jude Thaddeus has always been so good to me! He truly helps resolving urgent and serious problems. I am a social worker and couple of months from now i will be heading the Home for Human Management, Advocacy, and Social Involvement, a program on drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation of the City Government of Lipa. I have to study every area that has to do with recovering and bringing back to life all these helpless and powerless brethrens, also children of God!

    Well for all you know we are facing a little situation here. As you mentioned "What happened to the belief in the power of God, in and through, each of us in the community we call the Church? Why do we find it so hard to believe that people really can beat alcohol, or cocaine, etc., with the powerful human will that God has placed within each of us?

    St. Jude Thaddeus, Pray for Us.
    St. Jude Thaddeus, Pray for Us.
    St. Jude Thaddeus, Pray for Us.

  9. Lex
    3 years ago

    Obviously this is just your perspective, which I'm all for you sharing. But the DISEASE of addiction is progressive, incurable, and fatal, just like cancer or anything like it. When we admit powerlessness, we aren't just admitting that we can't control our abuse of a substance. We are admitting that our lives are out of control and that we need help. The NA/AA programs are much like a church: they take in the hopeless, help them find their faith, help them find THEMSELVES.

    I am a proud member, and I fully believe in the program and all it has to offer.

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